The Philadelphia Citizen


The Philadelphia Citizen podcast offers spoken versions of articles, deeper dives into the political, social and cultural workings of our city, explainers on the issues of our day, interviews, conversations and solutions. Lots of solutions. All to help you become a better citizen of your city.

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1167 episodes

The election whisperer

Rich Thau is the sole conductor of monthly swing voter focus groups in presidential battleground states. He has advice for both Biden and Trump.

Sep 22
Cherelle Parker wants to be your mayor | Pt. 1

Leading up to the general election, we'll be broadcasting portions of the Citizen's Ultimate Job Interview live event. In this episode, Cherelle Parker opens the night by telling the attendees why she wants to be the next mayor of Philadelphia.

Sep 21
Black male mental health must matter

On this episode of Guest Commentary, Black men are suffering from a nationwide mental health emergency. A Philly social worker, who is also a Black man, calls for help.

Sep 20
Free speech matters. Still.

Elaine Maimon made a guest appearance on the PA Humanities podcast mini-series "Re-vision: Conversations About Our Constitution." For CitizenCast listeners, a special preview of the episode with a foreword by Maimon. The full episode can be found at

Sep 18
Ali Velshi | Nepotism and influence peddling in the Trump administration

MSNBC host and Citizen board member Ali Velshi reminds us that nepotism, influence peddling and quid pro quo were par for the course during the last president's administration

Sep 18
Don't forget why Danilo Cavalcante was in jail

All but lost in the breathless account of escaped murderer Danilo Cavalcante was the reason he was in jail in the first place

Sep 15
Speed cameras save lives. Can we actually keep them?

Highly successful speed cameras pilot program slowed traffic and saved lives on Roosevelt Boulevard. How to sustain + track these studies?

Sep 14
Ali Velshi | Just what is a Banana Republic?

Donald Trump has made the absurd claim that the country is currently operating as a Banana Republic. MSNBC host and Citizen board member Ali Velshi breaks down where the term actually comes from, and the irony of someone like Trump weaponizing the term.

Sep 13
Big Rube's Philly | The DreamSleeve

In this episode of Big Rube's Philly, Big Rube reconnects with longtime West Philly friend MaryAnn Morris, creator of The Dreamsleeve. Fabolous is a fan.

Sep 12
Banned Book Club | Identity and broken promises in Lawn Boy

MSNBC host and Citizen board member Ali Velshi invites Jonathan Evison onto #velshibannedbookclub to discuss his book, "Lawn Boy." Evison grapples with whether America has delivered on its grand promises - a theme that not only saw his book banned in several school districts, but brought death threats and cyber attacks to his front door.

Sep 11
The most radical reform Philly could make?

Radical reform made simple? Changing the way we elect our City Council president could return your city government to you.

Sep 08
Is L.A. modeling the way forward for cities?

On this episode of How To Really Run A City, our hosts invite L.A.'s mayor, Karen Bass, to the show. Within the first six months of her term, Mayor Bass faced the Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strike and the teachers’ strike. She moved more than 14,000 unhoused Angelenos inside, relocating people from encampment tents into motels. She’s also taken the helm of the city’s Metro system,  she pledges to make the 2028 Olympics car-free. We ask her how she's been so productive – and remained so passionate? 

Sep 07
Ali Velshi | Trump's faux martyrdom

Trump is capitalizing immensely from his grievances and arrests. MSNBC host and Citizen board member Ali Velshi puts this martyr mindset in the context of Lenin, religious icons and the Soviet Union.  

Sep 06
Does Philly need rent control?

On this episode of Guest Commentary, Philadelphia once led the country on keeping rents down. The director of our city’s Rent Control Coalition says we can do it again.

Sep 05
BannedBookClub | I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Last Friday, Citizen co-founder Larry Platt was inspired to write an article, in part, due to the banning of "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" by an Iowa school district. On this episode of #velshibannedbookclub, MSNBC host and Citizen board member Ali Velshi speaks with Imani Perry, author and professor of African American Studies at Harvard. They discuss the legacy of Maya Angelou's seminal novel and dig into some of its most impactful scenes. It's little wonder that in certain areas of the country, this book ends up on banned lists. 

Sep 04
Why does everyone want to shut everyone else up?

The canceling of books by Elizabeth Gilbert and Buzz Bissinger are examples of a new American mantra: Free speech for me, but not for thee

Sep 01

Ahead of the premiere of KELCE on September 12, we hear from the filmmakers and listen to the film's new trailer

Aug 31
Is Philly in an urban doom loop?

On this episode of Guest Commentary, Center City businesses return to the office and vacant spaces become residences. Branding us an "urban doom loop" just isn't accurate.

Aug 30
A new take on housing reparations

On this episode of Ideas We Should Steal, a group called Taking Ownership PDX is preserving Black wealth in Portland through housing reparations by helping Black homeowners repair their homes

Aug 29
Ali Velshi | The bail system criminalizes poverty

In light of Donald Trump and his co-defendants being booked (and then released) in Atlanta last week, MSNBC host and Citizen board member Ali Velshi dissects how the bail system spares the wealthy while heavily disadvantaging the poorest of Americans

Aug 28
Does anyone care that the cops lied?

A Philadelphia police shooting has left a young man dead and exposed a false narrative from officials. How long do we wait for justice?

Aug 25
BannedBookClub | Are there good reasons to ban books?

What are the arguments FOR banning books in America? MSNBC host and Citizen board member Ali Velshi sits down with Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America, a nonprofit dedicated to the freedom to read and write. They dissect some of the most prevalent arguments for banning books and demonstrate why the pros of free ideas vastly outweigh the costs. 

Aug 24
Interview Special | Big Rube at Penny Wise Thrift Shop

On this episode of Big Rube's Philly, Big Rube chats with Liz Bench of Penny Wise Thrift Shop. Big Rube is a fashion forerunner and through-and-through Philadelphian revealing the best spot for thrifting in the city. Hint: It’s outside city limits.

Aug 23
"Don't take away my home"

In an excerpt of Live to See the Day, a new book about surviving poverty in Kensington, a teenager pleads for his high school to stay open

Aug 22
BannedBookClub | The U.S. Constitution

Very few texts have been such a lighting rod for interpretation, counter-interpretation and misinterpretation as the American Constitution. This week, MSNBC host and Citizen board member sits down to discuss this polarizing document with professors and authors Akhil Reed Amar and Jeffrey Rosen. 

Aug 21
Dear Mayor Parker: Forgive medical debt to grow our economy

On this episode of Memo to Madam Mayor, Larry asks do you want to create a pathway to the middle class? Then forget student loans. Medical debt is where it’s at.

Aug 18
Ali Velshi | George Santos and shame (or lack thereof)

With George Santos in the news again, MSNBC host and Citizen board member Ali Velshi reviews his scandalous rise and how it represents one more lethal blow to shame in politics.

Aug 17
We must control the AI that controls human services

Benefits Data Trust’s CEO — an AI advisor to the president — on what we must remember when using machines to deliver human services

Aug 16
We need more parklets

On this episode of Ideas We Should Steal, Mini on-street parks called parklets in cities like Chicago build community and help businesses thrive. So why doesn’t Philly have more?

Aug 15
BannedBookClub | Brainwashing is a choice

On this edition of #velshibannedbookclub, MSNBC host and Citizen board member Ali Velshi invites to the show Marjane Satrapi, author of "Persepolis." This bestselling graphic novel explores revolution in Iran and comes to the conclusion that being brainwashed is a choice. Many Iranians, Satrapi observes, are now choosing freedom. 

Aug 14